Friday, January 15, 2010

All There Is

Special Thanks to Mike Blakely and W.C. Jameson for playing and entertaining our cozy crowd on Saturday night. It’s right up there as one of my all time favorite nights in this store. Sure beats workin’!

Staying up late doing emails, not so good for accuracy. Please note, our winter hours are REALLY Monday – Thursday 10:00 – 6:00 p.m. and Friday - Saturday 10:00 – 9:00 p.m.

New Arrivals

 A Tour through Arizona by J. Ross Browne, First Edition, 1951 - $50

A History of Utah’s American Indians Edited by Forrest S. Cuch, First Edition, 2000 - $45

Comanches by T. R. Fehrenbach, signed Second Printing, 1974 - $100

Lone Star by T. R. Fehrenbach, Signed, 1977 - $100

Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Limited edition #1 of 600, hand painted cover. 1946 - $60

The Vixen by W.S. Merwin Signed, First Ed. 1996 - $75

Troilus & Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer First Ed. 1932 - $30

From the Johann and Kristin Eyfells Library
Anti-Illusion: Procedures edited by Marcia Tucker, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum, New York, Exhibit Catalogue, 1969 - $95

Hard-Edge edited by Lawrence Alloway, Exhibit Catalogue, Gallerie Denise Rene, Paris, 1967 – $125

Signs of Life, Photographs by Olivia Parker, First Edition, 1978 - $150

Einar Jonsson Myndhoggvari by Einar Jonsson, First Ed., 1982 - $150 (Icelandic)

Marcel Duchamp or the Greatest Castle of Purity by Octavio Paz, First Ed. 1970 - $95

Islenskir Myndlistarmenn, 1998, $50 (Icelandic)

Truls Melin, Jussi Nive, Bente Stokke, Nordic Pavilion Exhibit Catalogue, 1993 - $60

Children’s Collectibles

Three Little Horses by Piet Worm, 1958 - $40 (this was one of my all time favorites as a child, who rode stick horses around the yard in red boots, red felt hat and little else)

Wagging Tails by Marguerite Henry Signed, First Ed., 1955 - $95

Black Gold by Marguerite Henry Signed, First Ed., 1957 - $90

Author Birthday – Susan Sontag

A woman destined to become synonymous with the National Organization of Women and women's rights, essayist and author Susan Sontage was born in New York City on January 16, 1933.   She was precocious and inquisitive as a child.  When her father died when she was five, her mother moved her and her sister first to Tucson, Arizona, and then to the suburbs of L. A.  She was an intellectual even as a youngster, buying the Partisan Review and reading Trilling, Rosenberg, and Arendt.

Sontag was graduated from high school at the age of 15 and became a serial academic. She took classes at Berkeley and earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago after only two years of classes.  She earned two master's degrees from Harvard, studied at Oxford and the University of Paris, and then, in 1959, she moved with her son to New York City.  During the course of her studies she had married, had a child with, and divorced Philip Rieff, who had been one of her professors at the University of Chicago.

Susan Sontag said that she prefers to think of herself as a novelist.  Her first novel, The Benefactor, was published in 1963.  Her last and most popular, The Volcano Lover, came out in 2002.  But, despite her success with long fiction, her essays made her famous.

In her early essays, Sontag wrote about criticism of art and culture.  While most critical essays of the early Sixties were dry and academic, hers were lively and fun.  Her Notes on Camp was first published in the Partisan Review in 1964.  Sontag suggested that even bad art can be appreciated, that there can be "a good taste of bad taste."  The essay had a huge impact on the New York intellectual world, and Sontag became a guru for the American avant garde.

In 1969, Sontag decided to try her hand at filmmaking, which fascinated her.  She said it gave her the chance to exercise a part of her imagination and her powers in a way that she couldn't as a writer.  But she missed writing.  "I thought: where I am?  what am I doing?  what have I done?  I seem to be an expatriate, but I didn't mean to become an expatriate.  I don't seem to be a writer anymore, but I wanted most of all to be a writer."

In 1976, she returned to the literary world, focusing on short stories.  That same year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her doctors told her she had two years to live. She searched for treatment options and found alternatives with a doctor in France.  She not only survived but also wrote Illness as Metaphor (1978), which looked at the way language is used to describe disease.  It was one of her most significant books.  Other critical works include AIDS and Its Metaphors (1988) and On Photography (1977).
Susan Sontag's son, David Rieff, said his mother had "an unslakable kind of curiosity, of interest in the world.  She is someone who can go to an opera, meet someone at two in the morning to go to the Ritz and listen to some neo-Nazi punk synthesizer band, and then get up the next morning to see two Crimean dissidents."

Sontag succumbed to complications of leukemia in Manhattan on December 28, 2004, among her personal library of 15,000 books, neatly arranged by historical period, are Egyptian, Greek, Fascism, and Communism.  "What I do sometimes is just walk up and down and think about what's in the books," she said, "because they remind me of all there is.  And the world is so much bigger than what people remember."

An unauthorized biography written by Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock and published by W.W. Norton in 2000 reported that Sontag was, for seven years, the companion of the great American playwright Maria Irene Fornes (in Sontag's introduction to the collected works of Fornes, she writes about their time together).  She also had a relationship with renowned choreographer Lucinda Childs and, more recently, on and off with photographer Annie Leibovitz. (source: American society of Authors and Writers )

One more time - "What I do sometimes is just walk up and down and think about what's in the books," she said, "because they remind me of all there is.  And the world is so much bigger than what people remember."

Thank you, Susan. This is one of those truths we can all agree on. You would have liked our shop.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Newsletter - Hat's Off!

With the close of another year, we are most thankful for you, our customers. We love being around books all day, but we get our energy from you. So hats off to YOU, each and every one.

Log On
Our eBay store has auction and buy-it-now items:

On the Calendar
Friday January 8th, 7:00 – 9:00. Talk 7:30 – 8:00

Charles Kettner Ph.D. will be here signing Die Kettner Briefe Dr. Kettner edited this collection of letters which consists of 39 letters exchanged between Franz Kettner and his family in Germany from 1850 to 1875. The letters, printed in German with their English translations, is enhanced by photographs, both old and new, and other supporting documents. Franz was an early farmer and stockman in Comal, Gillespie, and Mason Counties. He participated in several campaigns with the Texas Rangers and later, during the Civil War, was a member of the Minute Men (local militia). He ran a store and post office in Castell. He hauled freight from the Texas coast to Fort Mason. He was a sheriff in both Gillespie and Mason Counties and was the Tax Accessor. Franz held the prestigious position of Cattle and Hide Inspector during the era of large cattle drives from Mason County. Dr. Kettner will talk about the book and how it came about from 7:30 – 8:00.

Saturday January 9th, 7:00 – 9:00 (or longer)
An Evening with W.C. Jameson and Mike Blakely. Jameson and Blakely are both musicians, songwriters, authors and poets. They will play original music in an intimate setting and sign books. CD’s will also be on sale. Mike and W.C. have many fans and for good reason. Don’t miss this truly personal evening with two of the most gifted and prolific musicians and songwriters in Texas. We will have birthday cake, too! (Yours truly)

Friday January 15, 3:00p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday January16th, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

We will host a two-day release party for local author George Arnold’s latest adventure novel in the Cats of the C.I.A. book series Tango With a Puma. This new book is set in Buenos Aires and pits the wits of four Texas Hill Country cats and a dancing pig from Ohio, all secret agents who work for the clandestine C.I.A. (Cats In Action), against the infamous international terrorist, Carlos the puma. Tango With a Puma is written in English and features an extensive vocabulary and pronunciation guide in Spanish as spoken in Argentina. It’s the first book in George’s second trilogy, which will also include basic French, set in Paris and basic German, set in Munich. The new book offers more advanced Spanish than Hunt for Fred-X (2005) which was set in Mexico and featured a 750-word and phrase vocabulary in Spanish.

The books are written for both children starting at about age eight, and for adults, they’re tongue-in-cheek spoofs on the worldwide spy intrigue genre. For children, they’re funny international adventures offering subtle lessons in history, geography, cultural differences and, of course, a chance to develop a basic vocabulary in a foreign language.

Friday January 29th, 7:00 9:00
Singer songwriter, author and poet W.C. Jameson will be here playing original country music and signing books. More information will be in the next newsletter. In the mean time, here’s his web site:

Winter Hours
Beginning Tuesday January19 we close at 6:00 Monday – Thursday, and open until 9:00 on Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s will still be by chance.

New Arrivals

Cook’em Horns, Texas Exes’ Cookbook Celebrating the University of Texas Centennial, second ed., 1982, $75

Aunt Pearl’s Cookbook, A Man’s Cooking by Joe Sears (of Greater Tuna fame) first ed., 1992, $60

In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs by Julia Child, first ed., 1995, $35

Julia Child and More Company by Julia Child, first ed., 1979, $40

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy, signed fifth printing, 1971, $150

Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams, signed, 1993, $60

Fowles of Heauen or History of Birdes by Edward Topsell, 1972, $50

Literary Birthday – E.L. Doctorow

It is ironic that Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was named after his father's favorite writer, Edgar Allen Poe. Both writers turned out to be groundbreaking experimental author’s intent upon producing imminently readable and yet emotionally challenging literature. Both succeeded.

Born on January 6, 1931, in New York City, Doctorow attended the Bronx High School of Science before enrolling in Kenyon College, from which he was graduated with honors in 1952. He did post-graduate work at Columbia University before being drafted into the Army, where he was stationed in Germany.

In 1954, Doctorow married Helen Setzer. He went to work for Columbia Pictures, where he was a script reader from 1956 - 1959, after which he took a position as senior editor for New American Library, where he worked until 1964 before moving up to the position of editor-in-chief at Dial Press. Since leaving publishing in 1969, he has devoted his time to writing and teaching.

Doctorow holds the Glucksman Chair in American Letters at New York University and has taught at several institutions, including Yale University Drama School, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of California at Irvine.

Highly regarded and always controversial, he creates works that are marked by in-depth philosophical musings, subtly diverse prose, and placement of historical figures in sometimes unusual and often bizarre situations and settings. His novels stretch the limits of the literary genres on which he draws.

In his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times (1960), a Western, he fashions the materials of the Great Plains experience into an allegory of man and evil. His second novel, the sci-fi/thriller, Big as Life (1966), is a satire set in a futuristic New York.

With The Book of Daniel, his third novel, Doctorow solidified his position as a major American novelist. A fictional retelling of the notorious Rosenberg spy case, the story deftly evokes the complex anxieties of Cold War America, shuttling back and forth in time from the 1950s, when Paul and Roselle Isaacson are convicted of spying and electrocuted, to the late 1960s, when their troubled son, Daniel, a grad student at Columbia, must deal with the consequences of his unique birthright. The book was adapted into the 1983 film, 'Daniel', starring Timothy Hutton and directed by Sidney Lumet.

In 1975, Doctorow published Ragtime, a dazzling re-imagining of the United States at the dawn of the twentieth century. The book was written while he was a Guggenheim fellow. In it, Doctorow relies on a plot that, as in City of God, mixes real-life figures—Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, William Howard Taft, Harry Houdini, and Sigmund Freud—with a bevy of fictional characters.

The book was a literary sensation and ultimately named one of the hundred best English-language novels of the twentieth century by the editorial board of the Modern Library. It was adapted into a successful Broadway musical in 1998. Both it and the novel, Billy Bathgate (1989), which was nominated for a Pulitzer and won the PEN/Faulkner award, were adapted to the big screen.

Doctorow also wrote The Waterworks (1994), set in 1870s New York, and City of God (2000), a late 20th-century exploration of ideas and faith. He published a collection of essays, Reporting the Universe, in 2003 and another of short fiction entitled Sweet Land Stores in 2004. (source: American Society of Authors and Writers: )

May you have a year of peace and good books,
All of us at Berkman’s

Email Newsletter

This month's Literary Birthday is Howard Hawks

“I'm a storyteller - that's the chief function of a director. And they're moving pictures, let's make 'em move!”

Our email newsletter has over 900 recipients. We send it in plain text format with no graphics and has the same information as the blog. What the newsletter has that the blog does not is a monthly biography of a literary figure. It is also a good reminder to keep in touch with the store, events and New Arrivals. If you would like to receive the newsletter, let us know. or call 830-997-1535.

All we need is your first and last name and email address. This information is not shared.

Three Ingredients for Life

Three Ingredients for Life



Local Color

Local Color









First Editions and Collectibles

First Editions and Collectibles

Big Little Books

Big Little Books





A New Beginning

A New Beginning